Opinion

Deaths Of Children At The Border: The Rest Of The Story

|
Posted: May 06, 2019 12:52 PM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall.com.
Deaths Of Children At The Border: The Rest Of The Story

Source: AP Photo/Matt York

Recently there have been three news reports of children dying in the U.S. while in custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. That phrase, “while in custody of” is used to imply that the child would be alive today if only the Border Patrol had let them illegally trespass without interruption. If a child dies in a hospital, the media rarely claims that the child died “while in the custody of” a hospital. It doesn’t have the same impact. Every media outlet in America knows that a news story about the death of a child is emotionally heartbreaking. Children are a vulnerable subset of the population like the elderly and the disabled. Nearly every adult holds in their heart the feeling that children need our protection.  

Nevertheless the liberal media exploits the sensitivity we have when hearing about the death of a child. In today’s political environment, nothing is sacred. Politicizing the treatment of children of parents illegally crossing into the country gets attention mainly—and only if—the left can weaponize and hammer people who want secure borders, or support President Trump and law enforcement like the Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In the first news report a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died, “after being taken into U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Protection,” the story said.  Her father dragged her on a 2000-mile journey from northern Guatemala. Her father stated she was in good health during the screening process. Her health deteriorated on a 90-minute bus ride to the Border Patrol station. She was immediately transported to a hospital. An autopsy report indicated that she died from sepsis, a bacteria found in her lungs, adrenal glands, liver, and spleen. I am not a doctor, but I can safely presume that she had that bacteria in her long before she hit the U.S. border. This is very sad, but it isn’t the fault of U.S. border policy. It can be said that her father was negligent in dragging her on that dangerous journey. Why is that fact not being raised by the liberal media?

In the second death, an 8-year-old boy, again from Guatemala died after being dragged by his father on a 2000-mile journey and illegal entry into the U.S. The media made a point of indicating that Felipe Alonzo-Gomez was the second child to die, “in Border Patrol custody.” The boy became ill and was treated by medical personnel in the U.S. including being hospitalized several times. The autopsy showed that his cause of death was from the flu. Doctors who did not treat the boy were interviewed and said that he should have been checked for the flu and wasn’t. They said it was preventable. Yeah, right. Eighty thousand people died from influenza in the US in 2018 and another 56,000 in 2017 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Were those preventable? Were the doctors negligible? Besides, that is a question of the medical diagnosis of the doctors who treated him, not the Border Patrol. They sought immediate medical attention for him. However, blaming doctors won’t help politically here. Pinning this on the Border Patrol and President Trump is the goal.

In the third case, a 16-year-old unaccompanied migrant died after several days in intensive care at a children’s hospital in the United States. Clinicians observed no health concerns when he arrived at a shelter. He became ill the next day the story said and was taken to a hospital, treated and released. He did not improve and was hospitalized again and later died. The cause of death from the autopsy was that the 16-year-old died from a brain tumor. Obviously that set in long before entering the US. The symptoms did too. Why is the media not asking the father why treatment was not sought in his home country? Yet, is anybody surprised the liberal media reflexively began their predictable blame and smear tactics? 

The liberal media labels these stories high profile. They are only high profile because the media has weaponized these deaths to club the Border Patrol and President Trump. There are no reports of neglect by Border Patrol officials. It appears that all protocol was followed. These are unfortunate and tragic incidents. These kids got better treatment “while in the custody of” the Border Patrol than they did in their home country and along the way on this dangerous journey to the U.S. The real question is why a parent—if they were the actual parents—would subject their child to this dangerous trek to our southern border.

There is another issue that the media conveniently leaves out. Asylum laws dictate that a person fleeing danger in their country of origin are to claim asylum in the first country they reach outside their own. For Guatemalans and Hondurans that would be Nicaragua, El Salvador, Belize or even Mexico, not the United States. President Trump has correctly labeled this a humanitarian crisis that is not of our making. We can’t allow somebody else’s problem to become our problem. These migrants illegally cross into the U.S. It’s a violation of U.S. sovereignty. It is a domestic and national security issue and a public health issue. It puts a strain on limited U.S. resources such as public health facilities, schools, and our welfare system.

If the agenda-driven media correctly diagnosed this, they would blame these deaths of children on the parents or at least on the U.S. Congress, both parties, who refuse to fix this as each side is looking for political leverage instead.

Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is former Sheriff of Milwaukee Co, Wisconsin, President of AmericasSheriff LLC, Senior Advisor for America First, author of the book Cop Under Fire: Beyond Hashtags of Race Crime and Politics for a Better America. To learn more visit www.americassheriff.com